We were trying to explain why our 6 year old couldn’t play video games and watch TV or movies all day this past week. I explained I thought using a metaphor of eating a balanced diet of candy just wouldn’t be good for our bodies, and digitized media is like candy to our brains. I inadvertently stated in this explanation that too much media makes our brains shrink. I noticed a grimace on my wife’s face like, “Is that really true, honey?” But all seemed understood at the time and everyone was dismissed.
Later that day he was standing at the foot of my bed with a question, “But daddy, how can our brains SHRINK?” I really felt caught. Was I thinking I was really being honest or using a metaphor or what? So I expained that it wasn’t
really like our brains were shrinking in mass, but in ability–we just can’t think as clear when we spend too much time focusing on digitized media. But then something happened to make me a little bit satisfied but also a tad bit horrified.
I picked up a book I was to be reading for a class by Marva Dawn called, Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down. In the very first pages of the very first section she cites research done (and no kidding) that states “children who watch a lot of television actually have smaller brains”– WOW! WHOA.